Chelle Cordero comes to you today by way of MySpace friendship. You can also find her at her blog. She's written several romances with Vanilla Heart Publishing.
The Road I Took
by Chelle Cordero
As a youngster I was always fascinated by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and the concept that every decision we make can have life altering effects.“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I have never regretted the roads I chose to lead me to where my life is now, but I certainly had no idea when I was a teen of the things I would get to see and do in my lifetime. At the age of 17, I was convinced that I was going to be an actress on stage or in movies.
I went to a specialized high school (The High School of Art & Design in NYC) and studied the back stage arts. Willing to pay my dues and work anywhere I could just to be close to the “greasepaint”, I worked sound and lighting in off-off Broadway and Summer Stock. I also went to a weekend program at the New York Academy for the Arts. Then I studied drama at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus.
At some point during these years a director made a statement to me that gave me pause about my choice of a career – She told me that to succeed as an actress I would have to make everything else secondary, including my family. It was a statement that weighed heavily on me. I was passionate about several things – passionate about my family and friends, passionate about my community, and passionate about the arts such as writing and, even though I am horribly tone-deaf, music. And yes, I had even known passion in relationships. I knew enough about myself to realize that I could never allow so many other parts of my life to be secondary.
I had the opportunity to write, an activity I had always enjoyed, and I got published in my college newspaper and the local community paper. I kept a composition notebook at my side at all times and scribbled thoughts and ideas. I wrote scripts (for my own benefit) for my favorite TV shows and I always cast myself in a starring role. Although I still pursued theatre, the change in me had already started. By the time I was married (something else that, by the way, had not been in my original plans), I knew I wanted to write. And I did write as a hobby for many years.
When I was pregnant with our first child, I stopped working outside of the home. We had the old fashioned notion that it would be nice to have a full time at home parent, but who these days could afford to lose the second income? It was then that I decided to pursue my love of writing as a business and I managed to convince a local editor to give me a column where I wrote about local issues. Although that publication folded several years later, it had launched my professional writing career.
Here I am today still writing, still allowing my imagination to create worlds and adventure. I’ve been asked how I put so much depth into my characters and the funny thing is, I use my acting and theatre training. I build my characters with histories that color their attitudes, I toss conflicts in their paths and I let them decide, almost like method acting, how they are going to react.
And just like me, it is fun to see if they are going to choose the road less traveled.
For those of you who write (professionally or for fun), how in control are you of your characters? Mine tend to tell me who they are then bop me on the head if I try to ignore that information.